One of my simple pleasures in life is grocery shopping. I enjoy the smell of the bakery, the freshness of the seafood, the meat department, and the florist department.
Although I enjoy spending time at the grocery store, the more time you spend in the grocery store, the more money you spend. The average spent is about $2.17 per minute, according to the Food Marketing Institute (http://www.fmi.org).
I have developed a great grocery shopping system that requires good planning, math skills, and discipline that saves me time and money.
To demonstrate my system just look at a recent receipt from a local grocery store. The receipt below shows that I saved over 70% off the original price of all these goods and paid less than 9 dollars (from the original price of $32.24).
Planning is important to the system to maximize savings
If you run out of milk or bread and have to purchase from the corner store that may not have great low prices you will often spending more than you should. My wife and I purchase items ahead of time so we are prepared and don’t need to spend more than we need to. We didn’t need laundry detergent (we already had two containers in our pantry) but it was on sale so we stockpiled some more detergent. One of our tricks is that when you are in a hurry you are more likely to rush making a poor decision.
Another benefit to our system, is far less trips to the convenience store to pick something up. You waste less time on unnecessary trips and spend more quality time together.
Find out the loss leaders and specials for the week
My wife and I use our website (http://www.groceryalerts.ca) or flyers to monitor the weekly flyer deals to save time and money.
We saw that the organic yogurt that we enjoy but rarely purchase because it is usually $5.99 was on sale at $4.49. I also saw that the green laundry detergent was on sale for under $10.
We love to find the loss leaders for each store and stock up on those. A loss leader is an item for sale that the grocery store takes a loss on each time they sell it. The store hopes that people will purchase more than they intended to.
One funny story is that when we found a 10KG bag of flour for under $4 we bought two of them and stored one of them under our bed! It beats paying closer to $9 each when it is regular price.
Use math skills to maximize your coupons
This receipt is an example of how we maximize coupons.
- Combining the organic yogurt’s sale price with a printable coupon for $1 off we paid $3.50.
- I had a $5 off coupon off any size of Nature’s Path cereal. The smaller boxes are usually 400g and using the coupon would have wasted some of the savings. We used the coupon on a bulk size 1kg box that was on sale for $6.99. Using our coupon we maximized the savings by spending only $1.99 for 600g of additional cereal.
- Using a $10 off coupon for laundry detergent and a coupon that was attached to the laundry detergent we paid 19 cents for the laundry detergent and all-purpose cleaner. The laundry detergent was on sale so it allowed us to use the coupon without paying anything and the coupon attached to the detergent allowed us to take $3 off when you purchased the laundry detergent and all-purpose cleaner (on sale for $3.19).
This system is not just about saving money but saving time as well. I enjoy to spend time with my family rather than be in a hurry to purchase some last-minute items. You can save money when combining coupons and using sales to maximize your savings. Planning is a key to avoid being in a position to hastily make a decision (for example, buying a 1kg jar of peanut butter at the regular price).
Do you have any tips on grocery shopping or experiences on major savings on receipts?
The author of this article is Steven Zussino, Founder of Grocery Alerts Canada , home of grocery deals and money saving coupons. He enjoys personal finance and saving money in beautiful Victoria, BC.If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free weekly money tips newsletter below (we will never spam you).